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Commentary: Meaning of beauty secret with Victoria Secret’s unrepresentative list of ‘sexy’ figures

Courtesy of MCT

What defines “sexy?” Based on “The 2012 What Is Sexy?” list released by Victoria’s Secret, “sexy” is the blond bombshell that looks more like a pageant princess than a real woman.

I’m not saying these women aren’t beautiful or should be scorned for the way they look, but the fact of the matter is that on a list with 18 categories and 21 winning women (the four main actresses of the cast of “Pretty Little Liars” won “Sexiest TV Cast” together, and blonde cast member Ashley Benson made the list separately), Beyoncé is the only black woman and “Pretty Little Liars” star Shay Mitchell is the only Filipino. Latina women are not represented at all. So, women of non-white heritage make up about 9.5 percent of the list. Only four out of the 21 women on the list are brunettes.

Basically, according to Victoria’s Secret, I need to spend some time at the tanning salon, devote too many hours to the gym and see my hairstylist for an all-over coloring job pronto. First of all, who has the time or money and, second, this can’t really be what will make me – or any woman – “sexy.”

In the 21st century, Victoria’s Secret’s list is a poor representation of American women and an even sadder representation of what should be considered “sexy.” Think about women like Halle Berry, Eva Mendes and Lucy Liu – why didn’t they make the cut? These women are successful, beautiful women living in America too. There are plenty of men who want to date them and women who want to be them. None of them are blond or white.

Even flipping through a Victoria’s Secret catalogue, most of the women gracing those pages have golden glows and blond hair. They make up the brand’s own life-size Barbie-doll army. But most women don’t actually look like this. Lots of women have skin that has never seen a tanning booth and hair that just doesn’t need to be colored.

Regardless of the fact that Victoria’s Secret models are showing off underwear, the brand also sells swimsuits too. With summer upon us and bikini season in full-swing, more and more women will be looking to the brand to find something to make them look “Baywatch”-sexy. However, the women in these magazines do not represent the average American women and shoppers sometimes think the perfect bikini will transform them into life-size Barbies.

It’s disturbing to think Americans might really think blond and tan is how we should define “sexy.” It shouldn’t be something that is defined by skin or hair color. In my opinion, “sexy” means a healthy body with attributes that accentuate a woman’s best features and that’s something that can’t be determined by the color of anything.

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